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The Structural Trauma of Western Culture

Toward the End of Humanity

Authors: Ataria, Yochai

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  • Demonstrates how the concept of trauma is represented in modern popular culture; especially in film, literature, and music
  • Seeks to unpack the significance of trauma in Western monotheistic tradition
  • Appeals to students and researchers in psychology, trauma studies, literature, philosophy, film studies, culture studies, and sociology 
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eBook 85,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-53228-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-53227-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
Softcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-85096-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

This book describes the diverse manifestations of trauma and the ways in which trauma has shaped—and dismantled—our culture. Yochai Ataria describes how we are addicted to trauma and have become both its avid producers and consumers. Consequently, the culture in which we live has become posttraumatic in the deepest sense. This is apparent in the products that have shaped and continue to shape Western culture, ranging from the biblical sacrifice of Isaac to Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Ataria exposes the primary attributes of this so-called posttraumatic culture: sacrifice through action, an uncontrolled lust for blood, an inability to speak and describe things in words, a sense of foulness and alienation, emotional death, imperviousness, separation, and an overwhelming sense of exile. 

About the authors

Yochai Ataria is Senior Lecturer at Tel-Hai College, Israel, and Researcher at the Open University of Israel. He has published a number of theoretical, empirical, and philosophical articles on the topic of trauma, and has co-edited several books. 

Reviews

“In this fascinating and provocative work, Yochai Ataria builds on research going back to Freud, Nietzsche, and the Frankfurt School; and into post-structuralism and the posthuman (Zizek and more, including trauma theory). He carves out, in the process, a new vision of the embedded nature of trauma and culture, arguing that the two are ultimately inseparable. In a striking metaphor, he describes the traumatic event as a black hole—an axis around which the entire world revolves. Select literary and film analyses provide evidence in support of Ataria’s views, which include theorizing dance and music as potential paths for trauma to pass through. The book is a tour de force that is essential reading both for trauma scholars and the general public.” (Elizabeth Kaplan, Distinguished Professor of English and Cultural Analysis and Theory, Stony Brook University, USA)

“This book, focusing on the nature of Western Culture as posttraumatic is both unique and innovative. Its uniqueness stems from Ataria’s main observation that our culture is a product of continuous exposure to trauma and adversities, starting from biblical stories of scarify and inhalation, throughout major world war wars, until current era of extreme exposure to disasters and epidemics.   It is also one of the most innovative collection of essays I have lately read, aiming to warn the reader from giving in and ignoring the devastating impact of repeated adversities and violence, as transmitted to us, on an ongoing basis, via TV and computer screens, smart phones and social media. It is Atarias’ view, which I tend to agree with, that exposure to ongoing societal trauma, will inevitably resulted in broken communities, deficient relationships, and a severe lack of meaning in addition to unbearable psychological toll.” (Yuval Neria, Professor of Medical Psychology, Columbia University, USA)

“Yochai Ataria makes a unique contribution to trauma studies by offering a profound understanding of contemporary culture as a post-traumatic culture. I trust his serious analysis of trauma and its literary and cultural manifestations will be of use to scholars and lay persons in a variety of fields.” (Michael Keren, Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of Calgary, Canada)

“In The Structural Trauma of Western Culture, Yochai Ataria sets himself no less a task than rethinking the concept of trauma and claiming its constitutive role in a history of Western culture.  Ataria’s lively and ranging account takes its readers from the Akeda, the biblical Binding of Isaac, through to key works of twentieth-century and contemporary film and literature, using that primal scene to explore our past and contemplate our present.” (Lisa Saltzman, Professor of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College, USA)

“The considerable intellectual ambition of this book is to argue that a disparate range of texts – from modernist European literature to post-Vietnam American cinema – register a traumatic repetition that has is its origins in religious sacrifice. For Ataria culture not only transmits or memorializes traumatic memory; trauma is the very condition from which culture emerges. Ataria writes about trauma in the tradition of Freud and the Frankfurt School, reading culture as symptomatic of the psychological origins and collective psychopathologies of group identity.” (Allen Meek, Senior Lecturer, Massey University, New Zealand)

“This book would be new in the field and would pave the way forward in new ideas and concepts on Trauma and Culture .The book suggests that there is a closed loop between trauma and culture, arguing  that  the iconic trauma stands at the very core of Western culture…This book is extremely valuable and integrates theory and philosophy from several perspectives and shed novel light on how trauma is embedded in community members even if they were not present on site, or  at the time the trauma took place. I am convinced that this book is outstanding.” (Professor Mooli Lahad, Senior Medical Psychologist, Tel Hai College, Israel)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 85,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-53228-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-53227-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
Softcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-85096-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Structural Trauma of Western Culture
Book Subtitle
Toward the End of Humanity
Authors
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-53228-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-53228-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-53227-1
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-85096-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 201
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations
Topics